Impact and ROI of VR/AR in Training II

You asked the questions, and here are the answers.

Our Training Committee held a very successful webinar on “The Impact and ROI of VR/AR in Training” on 16th January 2019.

You can watch the Webinar recording here

You can also watch the solution demos here

It proved a popular event, with over 300 people registering to watch four enlightening presentations on very different Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality training applications. During the lively question-and-answer session it became clear that the number of great questions was larger than the time available to answer them all! This post allows the presenters to respond the questions that couldn’t be answered during the webinar.

Presenter 1 : David Trainor, Sentireal

Presentation Theme

David presented the “AppUccino” software, which delivers AR experiences for special-needs trainees to learn how to be a barista and work successfully in a commercial coffee shop. AppUccino directs trainees through the process of making americano, espresso, latte and cappuccino drinks. It generates AR overlays on the physical coffee-making equipment, including the industrial coffee machine itself, the separate coffee bean grinder and the separate water heater. A short video of part of the AppUccino AR experience can be seen here. Trainee performance measurements are taken as they prepare the drink using AppUccino and these measurements are uploaded to a cloud application, which analyzes them and presents training progress information to authorized training managers. An initial pilot with AppUccino indicated that trainees retained twice the amount of information and developed their skills 50% faster using AppUccino.

Webinar Questions for David Trainor

You said it took ~9 months of definition and dev, how many people were working on your team in which roles in order to accomplish this?

We used one media/content creator and one software developer. The work was carried out over the course of 9 months, but neither the content creation nor the software development role was full-time.

How were the analyses done? Observation? Performance against criteria on task?

The analyses were done based on (i) time taken for the trainee to perform certain tasks (ii) measurements of how accurately the trainee performed certain tasks and (iii) estimates of where the trainee’s attention and focus was at specific points in the procedure.

How many users has Appuccino had? What has been the impact? In how many months after development did you achieve that impact?

We’ve just completed an initial evaluation/pilot involving 15-20 trainees within a coffee shop managed by a partner training organization. At some point in February 2019 we intend to expand this to all barista trainees within that training organization.

How long did it take to create AR content for training?

The 3D models for the AR overlays were completed in approximately 1 week. The media is actually quite simple. Strong, simple content proved to be the best way to present the required information to special needs trainees who are affected by autism, Downs Syndrome or general learning difficulties. However we needed to spend much more time – about 4 months – on the instructional design and the directions, animations and transitions within the AR scenarios.

How did you already go about gathering data on ROI prior to the development (and also launch) of the app?

The data was gathered from a pilot study at one location. This was after the app was developed but before it was publicly released.

Very exciting project! Curious why you selected that small, unique demographic to start? Unique requirements? Expect to scale up to other populations?

We picked barista training as it’s an area where there is expected to be a lack of qualified employees in the future. In the UK, where I’m from, it is estimated that there is a shortfall of 40000 trained baristas. We selected special-needs barista trainees because there is a high degree of underemployment in that group and if we can create a good intuitive solution for special-needs trainees then it should scale up well to other groups and other types of catering or hospitality training applications.

Are these analytics published somewhere?

Not yet – the small pilot study that we’ve carried out gave us some indications on the training improvements and return on investment from AppUccino but we’re starting a larger evaluation in February 2019, when more trainees start to use the app at our partner training organization. We plan to publish the detailed outputs from this larger study.

Presenter 2 : Jeff Meador, Portico

Presentation Theme

Jeff presented Portico’s Diversity and Inclusion VR Seminar, which provides learners the opportunity to practice and master their skills with inclusive language. This program was designed to complement traditional classroom learning by preparing learners with practical applications of the skills discussed during classroom sessions. With Portico’s software, learners speak directly to AI-powered digital avatars and engage in simulated conversations that put their skills to test. Learners also get real-time feedback on their performance through a virtual trainer, who uses AI to guide users towards better language choices.

Webinar Questions for Jeff Meador

How did you factor in orientation to the VR experience to overcome novelty or unfamiliarity with the technology to get straight to the experience?
We didn’t want to rely on the learner having any previous experience with VR. We give users time to look around and explore prior to beginning the scenario. This gives them a chance to understand the parameters and boundaries of the exercise. We also engage in some light chit-chat (“how’s the weather” sort of stuff) to let the learner know that they are expected to talk and that the AI is listening and will respond.

Do you need a quiet room?

A quiet room certainly helps. Current speech-to-text technology is very strong, but having a quiet place for the training is very helpful. It also helps the learner concentrate on the task at hand.

Is Portico looking at including body language (proximity to client gestures, etc.)?

Yes; we’ve done some preliminary work with this and have set some behaviors that change based on the learner’s position and/ or focal point during the training.

How is the real time interaction happening? is it a sort of multiplayer training and a mentor is interacting with you? or the AI is giving you feedback?

Everything within our scenarios is driven by AI, including the feedback. Our goal is to have these role playing experiences run without the need for actors or facilitators.

Presenter 3 : Marlo Brooke, AVATAR Partners

Marlo presented a Mixed Reality Training System for aircraft and aircraft subsystem maintenance. Primarily an Augmented Reality / Mixed Reality solution, this high-fidelity, industrial-grade maintenance training system scales from a tabletop model design, to a full-sized aircraft, allowing the maintainer to train on the job, hands free, at the point of need, without any jitter or drift. The system utilizes object tracking (as opposed to stickers or markers) to ensure highly accurate lock on target, even as the user moves around the aircraft. It also  integrates to any backend system to both retrieve and record/send information about the maintenance task. It supports collaborative tasks and remote assistance.

Webinar Questions for Marlo Brooke

How did you come up with your pricing for your offerings?

Pricing is based on the specific requirement of the customer. AVATAR Partners can develop the application in its entirety, and/or the customer can purchase SimplifyXR to build/extend all or some of the functionality. Furthermore, because we use open source products such as Unity, the customer does not need to purchase SimplifyXR to extend any AVATAR Partners built XR solutions.

Is SimplifyXR proprietary to you or is it 3rd party?

SimplifyXR is is developed by AVATAR Partners using open source development tools, and can integrate to any backend system through APIs. It is licensed and sold through AVATAR Partners and its certified resellers. SimplifyXR is not required to extend any AVATAR Partner XR applications.

Could you please clarify how 97% reduction was calculated? Does it mean that instead of 100 hours of training without glasses only 3 hours with glasses are required?

You are correct. The training task was calculated based on the current training method for that particular wire failure, which involved an experienced maintainer gathering information from 3 different source materials (ETM, Wire Illuminator, and 2D schematics) to trace and identify the wire failure. The current training method is documented as taking 4 hours on average. The AR training experience is 7 minutes in duration, which is a 97% reduction in time to train.

Marlo, you said you have offices around the country.  I didn’t hear if Portico has the same, but do either of your companies look to establish satellite offices in more remote locations? If so, what type of environments do you look for? Developed workforce, local colleges, etc?

AVATAR Partners has regional offices in Huntington Beach CA, Arlington (Crystal City) VA, Virginia Beach VA, and Patuxent River MD, with personnel working in 8 different states within the USA. AVATAR has teaming partners with offices in Atlanta GA, Orlando FL, San DIego CA, Dayton OH, and Fort Worth, TX. We are expanding based on a variety of factors including the locations of teaming partners, certified resellers, and universities both within the USA and Allied Nations.

Marlo, how did you measure those analytics?

The performance metrics were derived from test results by AVATAR Partners based on the comparison of the current methodology versus the use of XR. These tests included accuracy,  time to train, and time to complete the task. Cost savings were derived based on an assumed reduction of errors based on increased accuracy, and will vary depending on the application and cost of parts. We also discussed other studies such as the Boeing/Iowa State Study on wing assembly (Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) 2014).

I’m not familiar with SimplifyXR — can you describe what that is and whether that is proprietary to AVATAR?

SimplifyXR is a software product developed by AVATAR Partners that allows non-programmers to develop their own Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, and Virtual Reality experiences. It also speeds development time by tenfold by using a user-friendly interface. The product also evaluates the user’s desired XR application and notifies the user whether or not the application is well suited for XR, or if a different training media (e.g. video training) would be more effective. SimplifyXR is owned and licensed by AVATAR Partners, and is developed using open-source tools and industry standards, and also integrates to any backend system using APIs. The product is available directly through AVATAR Partners or certified resellers.

Was there a problem using AR on an object as large as an aircraft?

We overcame several challenges to make the solution commercially usable. Using the basic development tools and markers didn’t work – it caused significant drift, jitter and an inability to accurately track the object as the maintainer walked around the aircraft. AVATAR Partners was able to overcome all of these issues by developing algorithms to lock on target without any drift or jitter to the user. Our solution being hardware agnostic, we found the Microsoft Hololens and android tablet supported higher fidelity. Also, we used Mantis Vision 3D scanners to scan the aircraft, gaining an accurate 3D model so that we could use object tracking (instead of markers). This along with our programming algorithms provides the maintainer with absolute precision as they walk around the aircraft, regardless of the unit’s size (from 1:6 the model size, to full aircraft).

Presenter 4 : Carlos Ochoa, ONE digital consulting

Presentation Theme

Carlos presented XR platform for immersive training, operation and maintenance of industry plant services, eolic farms, which includes advanced reality technologies in 3d interactive environments (extended reality, 360º video and digital data integration), methodologies in a modular architecture (on/off line). Innvestion deploy an intelligent XR ecosystem with the specialized know-how to turn unstructured data into value-adding information, for specific subject when providing services such as preventive maintenance, security management or operational management. Simulation-based training, prefaced with traditional training methods on process fundamentals, is the most efficient and fastest way to train new employees and prepare them for their daily work providing huge added value and benefits.

ONE digital consulting has been working for more than 20 years in the eLearning and Training arena, and with our selected partners network in Europe, Saudi, India, Africa and Latam.

Webinar Questions for Carlos Ochoa

What hardware configurations are everyone on the panel currently using for their XR applications?

For a full INNVESTION experience, the user only needs a mobile device and VR glasses that fit the device. The training centre will need an internet connection to download different modules.

INNVESTION can be used in a single “low cost” VR environment based on Samsung Gear Mobile VR, through the most advanced VR Oculus Rift, HTC Vive configuration. The key issue of INNVESTION is data integration in one device. From reality to virtual reality or vice versa.

INNVESTION can be used in a multi window spheric environment, for multiuser training environments.

What are KPI’s?

The acronym KPI sounds for Key Performance Indicator. This is a general business term referring to any metric used in understanding how an organization is doing. While the term can be tossed around the business world ostentatiously or irrelevantly, the fundamental rationale derives from the simple concept that if you don’t know how you did in the past, you don’t know if you have improved in the future. Because every business has its own economic niche, customer acquisition models, geographic localities, production methods, etc., each business must define for themselves what makes them successful. Therefore, the “key” in KPI, should be a metric key to your enterprise. These indicators are as varied as your imagination, but a number of familiar indicators include monthly recurring revenue (MRR), cost to acquire a customer (CAC) and the term used in this webinar’s title, Return on Investment (ROI).

When you are looking to improve your ROI in your training strategy, you need to understand clearly the training savings metrics, saved commute hours, lifelong expense of your LMS solution, overall productivity and revenue increase, other factors specific to your business and training model.

In conclusion, we can see selected companies  transforming their business opportunities for the XR technology and adopt it regardless of cost and ‘clunkiness.’ Today we see leader enterprises utilizing XR for training, maintenance, engineering, and marketing purposes. These companies eventually pull everyone else in their direction as the industry caters to their operational needs and chases enterprise benefits.

Anuncios

Virtual and Augmented Reality at School. Disruptive Innovation in Education?. Is it the Educational Community ready to redefine a new Educational Ecosystem?

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. “Albert Einstein”

vr-image-01

The future framework for smart digital education, leave permanently redefined from the continue impact of new technologies, communications and infrastructures development, experiences and case studies and last but not least international experiences from a more global perspective.

Virtual reality is not a passing fad, is not only a question around nice 3d pictures, disruptive words or video games…we are talking about the “Future of the Society”. Imagination, Innovation, Inspiration, Interaction, Interconnection and Improvement, a new paradigm pushing from the pillars of education “that needs to be agreed and adapted to the reality of each environment, preventing breaks and digital divides in access to knowledge and technologies that impoverish citizens and therefore to society.

Let’s talk about “Imagination”.

The convergence of digital forces such as social media, mobility, analytics, and cloud computing is driving transformation across industries as well as in our personal lives. Disruptive Innovation is making headway in this complex interconnected world, where the contribution and converge of creativity, imagination, knowledge, technologies, procedures and methodologies, is revolutionizing the world of smart education though a more global and qualified professionals scenario. It is not a question about technology, is all about a new way of learning: We need to reimagine the Education from a new perspective in a new complex context.

Let’s imagining for a while the “Year 2025”…close your eyes and think about how it looks like. Your thoughts are sorted and limited by your background, education, knowledge and social issues. But try once again with an open mind, and try to reimaging the world in 2025. Think about the new society needs and demands, the new citizen’s skills, the Environmental challenges, the new Smart Ecosystems, the Internet of things implications, the eHealth and Well-Being ecosystem…And try to find the best answer to your imagination. Do you really think we are on the right track?

What about “Innovation”.

If we wish to prepare a generation of citizens as entrepreneurs and leaders for the 21th. century who can face real-world problems, we must give them real-world problems to solve.

From my personal years of experience, I nurtured an interest in cultural heritage, topography, photogrametry, imagering and geography and learned a lot about ancient civilizations recreating Virtual Worlds of old cities, places and cultures. Similarly, millions of students have played with games and learned about the hazards of world culture. When we talk about the potential effect of virtual reality on education, we are talking about 4 main new concepts in education: 1) the ability for students to learn within immersive and transportive digital environments, 2) the gamification experiences of the learning process, 3) the process of learning by doing based in real experiences, and 4) the new paradigm where the student is in the center, not the teacher.

Some studies and early experiences have shown that VR is indeed a potentially transformative educational platform, where educators, teachers and students need to reimagine their new roles. Meanwhile, educators will have to learn how to best incorporate VR into their curriculum and class activities, while managers must create the flexibility for their teachers to learn and experiment. ¡¡¡This is the greatest challenge!!!.

vr-image-02

 Talking about “Inspiration”.

I have been involved in this technology for many years. In the early beginning it was focus on professional environment and technical applications. Very expensive, sophisticated and complex technology for common use. Now, thanks to the “Mobile Revolution” schools, universities and private training providers are using VR & AR in a smartphone environment, having an amazing impact on students’ learning experience. Examples of practice in video-game industry and higher education tend still very much to be centered on Engineering and eHealth. But I don’t think it will be long before we see more VR experiences being used across other industries and in a larger proportion of educational environments.

vr-image-03

VR and AR technologies offer new possibilities in the educational and professional training environment, allowing a greater involvement of students in their own learning context and a continue evolution of digital content and tools.

The teacher / tutor-student relationship is enhanced by the facilities that offer VR & AR technology when creating virtual communities and tools for use in the classroom in an effective, simple and friendly community. The efficient implementation of new technologies in old organizations needs to adapt methods and procedures in a new paradigm and changing the teacher/student role.

vr-image-04

Think about “Interaction”.

VR based on Actions Based Learning, is a new technology based training approach. Depending on the organization and training project to address, creates a matrix that meets the requirements for every action: which user profile addresses each action, which type of learning program, capacitive or training, the exchange of information and documentation to be used, the format and method to deliver information, the method to archive results based on Kpi´s and the best technology to be used in every action.

Nobody can realize how VR will looks like in 10 years, but one thing is for sure, VR is one of the big challenges for the next years. Almost all big players are making significant announcement every day, like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Sony, Samsung, Huawei… The mobile virtual reality market is predicted to reach US$150 billion by 2020, and this will pit companies against each other as they seek to grow into these new rich and contextual environments. What’s next? It will be interesting to see how new players will respond to this new big challenge, how will interact with internet of things in smart environments, and what kind of Educational Ecosystems will be developed…we will see as main actors.

Making real impact on education “Interconnection”

Maybe there is a big pressure from big companies pushing the VR sector based on hardware platforms, new devices and gadgets. But what about apps and availability of contents?. Perhaps most relevant issue for next years is investment in “educational digital content”: games and experiences with educational value. In this new VR environment, storytelling plays a new roll and must be redefined according the new focus: “the student”. Contents must be well designed and ideally, including collaborative and social components. Here, there is much to learn from recent research into gamification of learning, fueled by the increasing availability of computers and devices in classrooms.

vr-image-05

Immersive Virtual Reality Education must be placed into a new context. For students of all ages and abilities who wish to learn through experience rather than memory testing. Using Immersive AR & VR Environments we can place students in any real world or virtual situation with an active role in proceedings through various tasks they will need to complete. Situations and outcomes will dynamically change depending on the students input and this will keep the student active and engaged throughout the lesson.

According some research and studies, students of all ages typically retain between 10% and 30% of that they read and see. Traditional educational materials fail to inspire and engage further learning with most students as it forces them into a form of memory testing rather than retaining knowledge through practice and experience. Traditional lessons are also taught through ridged structures that don’t change if repeated. This causes fatigue and boredom with less student retention. Interactive 3D solutions have been shown to increase student’s attention levels by 92% and increase test scores by 35% – while at the same time creating a new level of engagement for students and staff.

As an ITC & Smart Education Consultor with 25+ years’ experience integrating technology, it is exciting for me to see a technology that so quickly captures the attention of the students, motivates them to make the effort to learn the procedures, and then opens them up to the relevant content.

Surfing the Web
New Educational Open Spaces

Virtual and augmented reality is going to be a disruptive technology in education and we need to learn from experiences and permanently reimaging the context to make an impact on education. On one hand, virtual reality is already being tested and discussed all over the world through applications as diverse as training advanced medical students, in K-12 classrooms, and exhibits in cultural institutions and museums– virtual reality’s attraction is the immersive environment that it creates, and it seems intuitive that students are a perfect test case. But still there are a lot of issues that must be resolved: Standardization on devices, apps, internet access, availability of specific educational content, prices, stability of versions…

vr-image-06

Bring VR & AR experience to your school “Improvement”

So what are we doing about Virtual and Augmented reality in education?. Well you might be confused by the VR & AR related headline, and wondering why the classroom needs that. Six months ago, we launched an innovative project “Smart Education Labs” embedded into 6 Learning Resource Center. This was our pilot experience with the Ministry of Education of United Arab Emirates, and a lot of changes and improvements were applied in the meantime. Now, we are working on a brand new platform that will be soon available with a whole range of affordable and new services and accessible materials for different devices and platforms (Oculus, Samsung VR and Cardboard).

But I know this is not enough, we need to improve a lot. We are creating Workshops to train teachers as a key success factor to implement new technologies in the better scenario and learning from the best practices. And we need to share experiences with the educational global community, in a continue learning process to adapt technology and process to the learning programs and users demands.

We are working hard on developing specific educational environments, contents and experiences based on our previous experiences, and implementing all these case studies in our new platform.

Our focus is to implement Smart Education Labs as an Innovative VR&AR space for the Global Educational Community. This is just the very first step to the future.

Carlos J. Ochoa Fernández (c)

Trends, Challenges and Innovation Spaces for Digital Engineering

If we wish to prepare a generation of professionals and experts in the Industry and Energy field to can solve real-world problems, we must give them real-world problems to solve.

chemical plant

One of the greatest challenges of today’s society and in particular the European Union is to develop a more competitive, efficient, productive, innovative and under a high added value sustainable model industry.

An industry, able to lead both strategic and emerging sectors by creating high valued job positions, requires its efforts to focus on R&D+I and knowledge management. And to do this, it is necessary to make an incremental effort in each and every one of the components that directly or indirectly affect the industry. The purpose is to promote new forms and methods for learning and training of professionals that will be drawn into the market, and training and adaptation of existing professionals to be more competitive in their present positions by using more effective digital technologies and processes.

The New Digital Era is beginning to define a new global scenario, which goes further than the simple digitization of objects and things. It is a new context that involves a new way of thinking and adapting the knowledge, processes and procedures to this new backdrop, as well as its transmission to persons and professionals in this field. This is something that is very subtly present in our day to day and that is clearly reflected in digital engineering and in technologies, methods and procedures that are applied to several sectors such as medical, industrial, energy, water management, manufacture and telecommunication, etc.

To speak of digital engineering is to speak of simulation, virtual reality and so forth. Thomas Perkins already in 1985 clearly described this in his work Simulation Technology in Operator Training. Full-scope, plant specific simulators are part of a new reality. In which he explained how in the early 1970s the first simulators to be used in training plant operators in nuclear plants were developed. Many years have passed since then and there have been great changes in this field, both at the conceptual and operational level, which will be examined in detail in this work.

The future framework for training, learning and vocational training of professionals from the industry and energy sectors, leave permanently redefined from the experiences and case studies of working groups and national and international experts from a more global perspective.

Innovation is making headway in this complex world, where the contribution and converge of knowledge and technologies, procedures and interactive learning methods, is revolutionizing the world of e-training, for a more global and qualified professionals.

But in this process, we want to focus on one key success factor: “the use of digital technologies such as advanced simulators technologies, the serious gaming, augmented reality, on-line communication, integrated devices, geometry scanning, or digital interactive documents in order to improve the productivity, the quality, the security and the implementation methodology of these practices”.

The improvement in the development of professional’s activity, performed by digital engineering experts, is a key factor to resolve faster and better complex or critical situations. For this purpose, it is necessary to analyze and manage multiple and heterogeneous information, data, situations, localizations and databases, based on technology, to provide real solutions in a knowledge management environment.

Advanced Simulations, Game Based Training, Gammification, Augmented Reality and Digital Interactive Manuals offer new possibilities in the educational and professional training environment, allowing a greater involvement of students in their own learning context and a continuous digital content and tools evolution.

The teacher / tutor-student relationship is enhanced by the facilities that offer Simulations & Serious Games and Augmented Reality technology when creating virtual communities and tools for the use in the classroom in an effective, simple and friendly community. The efficient new technologies implementation in old organizations needs to adapt methods and procedures in a culture change program. Actions Based Training is the way to success.

Actions Based Learning ®, which is a new Technology Based Training Approach, depending on the organization and training project to address, creates a matrix that meets the requirements for every action, what user profile addresses each action, what type of training program, capacitive or training, the exchange of information and documentation to be used, the format and method to deliver information and the technology to use.

Serious Games, Virtual Reality, Advanced Simulators, Digital Text Books, Augmented Reality…and the integration with brand new devices and Actions Based Learning methods will drive this challenge to a new dimension of interactive training and maintenance and support of risk and critical situations. In which technology convergence, efficient knowledge management, sustainability and time will be the new drivers of Digital Engineering in the Energy and Industry fields.

Carlos J. Ochoa Fernández ©